September 26, 2021 by Kgalalelo
This month is special to me as it symbolises the point when I decided to recommit myself to the teachings of the Bible and put away other material and books I had. I read broadly and sometimes as a person you get carried away and are caught in what everyone is saying instead of what the Bible says directly. We all have access to the Word of God but committing to reading and studying the Bible everyday is tricky sometimes and we tend to take shortcuts.
A pastor once said that he knew another who never read anything from the Bible but read a book from one of the stalwarts of the word of faith every Sunday on the pulpit. He was attempting to teach congregants about faith and for him, it was easy to just read from someone else’s book on faith. We can learn from others, but the Bible is our source of inspiration because it is the Word of God and He can teach us first-hand.
They say that it is darkest before dawn and I definitely experienced that recently. I had been excited that I was devoted to hearing and speaking the Word, Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” and I was really doing well ever since the day I started in September of last year.
I downloaded audio sermons on the internet and saved them on my phone to listen throughout the day. So, when I woke up in the morning, I would grab my phone, go to audio- play, search for a sermon, walk to the bathroom with the phone on my hand, listen to the Word while brushing my teeth and bathing and then when I got out of the bath, I would put on my earphones and continue to listen while dressing up so that I wouldn’t disturb my husband while he was still sleeping.
When finished in the bedroom I would continue to listen while in the kitchen making breakfast and would pray in between anytime while eating or making a cup of coffee. I mean, it was amazing and exciting. I started so well and was progressing fine from that spring last year through to the summer, then autumn and then winter. The problem started last month, right at the end of winter which was ushering spring again and I was running towards the finishing line from where I started. My intention was to finish up a year using this routine and then continue in the second year and so on, but I took my eyes away from Jesus.
Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus is “the author and the finisher of our faith” and I had so much faith until I started to look down instead of up and saw my challenges. It doesn’t mean that I was problem free all through the year, I did encounter trials here and there, but I was peaceful and trusting God and troubles did not seem to exist.
When the devil can get you to lose focus on Jesus, he keeps you busy concentrating on the things that he knows will upset you. He is the master of distress, anger, bitterness, unreasonable expectations on others, resentment, rage and all negative feelings. Galatians 5:19-21 says that when you are in that zone then you are operating from the flesh and not from the Spirit and you are producing acts of the flesh instead of fruits of the Spirit.
I was bearing fruit and connected very well to the vine. Jesus says I am the vine, and you are the branches (John 15). When you are connected to the vine, that is, to Him, He feeds you; you get sustenance from His roots but as soon as you disconnect, you are near dying. This is how I felt. I was suffering and there was this heaviness in my spirit, and it was difficult to shake it off.
I was not waking up with the Word anymore, eating it, reading it, listening to it, breathing it and smelling it anymore. I was bothered by my circumstances and was going through a hard time. I started getting hold of any other book again and material devoid of my primary focus. I went on YouTube and watched videos about any other thing except what I had initially intended.
I felt like a deer panting for water. Psalm 42:1-2 says, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God”. My heart was empty, and it was such a challenging period for me. The last time I felt like that was a very long time ago, perhaps in my twenties when I was still trying to find myself and was always dissatisfied. I felt like I was losing my mind but knew deep inside that I cannot afford to feel that way for prolonged periods. If you do, you spiral further down, and the devil takes advantage of that. He likes it when we are hard-pressed. John 10:10 says that he comes “to steal, kill and destroy”. He first steals the Word from you, then he attempts kill and destroy you. He is determined and if we let him, we are in trouble.
2 Corinthians 4: 8-9 says, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed”. Paul says further in verse 10, “We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body”. When we carry Jesus with us and remember Him, we also remember to give Him the load. Jesus says in Matthew 11:29, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Realise that you have derailed and really observe yourself constantly. This is what I did, and I recorded what I was doing daily, the things I was watching, my activities and just kept track of myself. I became conscious of the fact that the anniversary of my commitment was fast approaching and with it came this upheaval from inside. I wondered in that time what had been Adam’s emotional state when he rebelled. Rebellion is resistance, you push against the tide and are no longer aligned to the Source of life. When you take another route except the one carved for you by God, you get lost in the quagmire.
When we are not cultivating the fruits of the Spirit then we are doing something else and whatever thing we are doing quickly takes us off the track with the intention of trapping us, keeping us in a constant state of peacelessness. Beware of the snares of the devil and dwell in the secret place of the Most High God, find refuge in Him for the Bible says “Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence” (Psalm 91:3). Rethink your original intention and follow through, it is never too late, God will help you. Psalm 37:24 says about the righteous person “though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand”.
“Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither--
whatever they do prospers” (Psalm 1:1-3).
Footnote: Scriptures taken from the The Holy Bible, New King James Version, 1982: Nashville, TN, Thomas Nelson, Inc. & The ESV Global Study Bible®, ESV® Bible, Copyright © 2012 by Crossway. All rights reserved & The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™ (2004). Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Wheaton, Ill: Tyndale House Publishers. The Holy Bible, Berean Study Bible, BSB Copyright ©2016, 2018 by Bible Hub Used by Permission. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2016 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://netbible.com All rights reserved. The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Kgalalelo Saane Mphephuka
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